Breaking Borders, Building Bridges
100% of Our Goal Reached!:
Thank you to all who donated as we have reached more than 100% of our goal! Engineers Without Borders has raised over$15,000 for our bridge project in Calcha, Bolivia, and we are incredibly grateful to all of our friends, family, and supporters who have helped us thus far.
However, this large-scale project requires approximately $50,000 to cover all expenses including travel, lodging, equipment, and raw materials. Our team still has a long way to go to cover all of the project's expenses, so please continue supporting us and spreading the word about our work!
Together, we can build a brighter future for Calcha! Thank you so much for your support!
Engineers Without Borders-Cornell is a student project team comprised of 43 members from various disciplines across the university. The team’s current project is to design, procure, and construct a bridge that will allow the community of Calcha, Bolivia to have easier and safer access to its farmlands which are currently separated by the Vitichi River for a large portion of the year. This river is an enormous obstacle that prevents villagers from harvesting crops, their only viable source of food and income. EWB-Cornell has partnered with Calcha in efforts to build a suspended bridge that will revitalize the community and save it from eventual abandonment. Cornell students have finished 90% of the bridge design and will begin prototyping this bridge under the guidance of professional mentorship. This large-scale project requires approximately $50,000 to cover all expenses including travel, equipment, and raw materials. With this campaign, we hope to raise $15,000, which will be solely used to purchase high-quality materials to ensure our bridge's safety and sustainability. With YOUR support, we can purchase the equipment and materials needed to build a bridge that will ensure a brighter future to Calcha.
Our partner community is Calcha, an underdeveloped village located in the southern part of Bolivia. Its 200 residents are subsistence farmers and extremely dependent on their farmland and harvested crops, using them as a source of income, food, and means of trade. Without their crops, the community cannot buy food, water, and other basic necessities from a nearby city. Unfortunately, this becomes reality for the community during a significant portion of every year.
During the three months of wet season when the Vitichi River becomes dangerously strong, the community is unable to cross the river to access their crops. Instead, farmers witness their hard work wash away. This loss of crops deprives families of food, children’s education, and financial independence. Some community members have even lost their lives trying to cross the dangerous river to harvest their crops. This lack of access to their farmlands is a daunting and an undeniable obstacle to the community’s growth and well-being.
Our team’s goal is to provide the community with a safe and sustainable way to access its farmlands all year long. Our solution is a suspended bridge that will be more than fifty feet long and made of locally sourced materials. With the expertise of Cornell professors, professional engineers, and our students, the implementation of both a structurally safe and sustainable bridge is guaranteed. Every week, more than 50% of community members will safely cross the river and enjoy a longer, more profitable harvest season. The addition of this bridge to Calcha will provide a strong basis for future sustainability in all aspects of the community.
Our implementation trip will be six to eight weeks long in the summer of 2016. Eight to ten Cornell students will travel to Calcha along with three professional engineers who will serve as mentors for the entirety of the project. The trip can be defined in three phases. The first phase will be building the towers, anchors, and foundations for the bridge. The community members, who are experienced in working with concrete, will be heavily involved in this phase of the trip. The second phase will be the construction of the bridge decking and placement of the cables. This phase will be critical to the bridge’s success and will require constant supervision from our professional mentors. The final phase of the trip will be training the community to maintain the bridge. Our goal is to build a bridge that is not only safe, but also sustainable by the community without our constant help.